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Amazing Odyssey Adventure II

Coming August 11-12
The Disciples Center at Tawakoni

Hey men! The Amazing Odyssey Adventure II is the third retreat of the Disciples Men Odyssey Project. This retreat casts the vision of the Odyssey Project and invites men 10 years and older to begin the life-long journey of growing up to reflect Christ-like character.

While originally conceived as a partnership journey for teen boys and their father figures, the vision for the Odyssey Project has grown to include any man who is tired of going through the motions of being a follower of Jesus. It is about learning to live a disciplined life that helps a man become what God created men to be: Respectful, Responsible, Reliable, Faithful, Compassionate, Generous, Humble, and Self-controlled.

Beginning at 7 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 11, participants will explore the vision of the Odyssey Project, make Spirit Bags in which to keep memory objects that mark their spiritual growth, experience exercises in the Daily Rule of Life Guide (included), and experience a guided session of a Monthly Men’s Support and Accountability meeting, which includes extended physical activity and sharing that will help participants assess their growth in reflecting Christ-like character. We will close with worship around 3 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 12.

Register and pay online below or download registration form and mail with payment to the Topeka Regional Office.  Credit card payments and gifts to the region, whether online, by phone or by other means, appear on your credit card statement as some version of “SST*CHRISTIANCHUR840559 MOUNT VERNON OH.”

 

Pentecost special offering

The Pentecost Offering supports Disciples new church development. Planning, nurturing and sustaining new congregation is part of the Disciples’ vision.

This offering supports the specialized ministry of new church development through both regional and general programs – with gifts for this offering divided between each. Fifty percent of gifts received by a region remain in that region, the balance supports the work of general, new church efforts.

 

Hope Partnership for Missional Transformation

Founded in 1883, Board of Church Extension was the ministry of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) that helped congregations with capital project planning and financing.  We have come to realize that for your congregation to be strong in the 21st century, you need more than just a building and financial plan to carry out God’s mission in your community.

The purpose of Hope Partnership for Missional Transformation is to empower courageous leaders as they guide the Church into life-giving expressions of God’s mission. Hope Partnership serves transforming congregations and their leaders; nurtures leaders through coaching and peer support; and identifies, equips and supports leaders to plant new congregations.

Disciples Men Fall Retreat

Wrestling With an Old Foe

The 2017 Disciples Men fall retreat will be Friday, Sept. 29 through Saturday, Sept. 30, at the Disciples Center at Tawakoni.

Featuring:

  • Todd Adams, President of the Pension Fund
  • Jesse Jackson, Jr., Pastor of East 6th Street Christian Church, Oklahoma City

Pre-Event Activities (Optional)

  •  Camp service work project.
  •  Golf outing.  [Golfing will be an extra expense.  We need a minimum of four men to sign up by September 2nd to get tee times.]

Cost:

  •   $70 per individual
  •    $60 per person if registering as a group of 5 or more [One check from church to cover all registrations is preferable.]
  •    $50 for a First time attendees

**NOTE:  First 10 registrations received from men 50 years of age or younger will have their registration fee refunded!

Registration deadline is September 8. Register and pay online below or download registration form and mail with payment to the Topeka Regional Office.  Credit card payments and gifts to the region, whether online, by phone or by other means, appear on your credit card statement as some version of “SST*CHRISTIANCHUR840559 MOUNT VERNON OH.”

 

Disciples Women Fall Retreats

Mark your calendar now to join us October 4-6 (Midweek) or October 6-8 (Weekend) for Kansas Disciples Women Fall Retreat with the Rev. Dr. Christal L. Williams as our keynote speaker.

Christal is a woman with a mission, to love, equip, and empower women. Currently, she is President of the Disciples Women Leadership Council, and on the Board of Trustees of Christian Theological Seminary in Indianapolis. She is Regional Minister and President of the Christian Church, in Tennessee.

Join with other women in a variety of activities, such as a book study on Can’t Wait to Get to Heaven by Fannie Flagg, Disciples volunteering opportunities, service projects, prayer stations, singing, and several hands-on activities.

Registration cost of $100 includes lodging at camp, five meals and program expenses. SAVE!  Register before Sept. 5 to save $15.  Register and pay online below or download the KDW Fall Retreat Registration Form and mail with payment to the Topeka Regional Office.

Midweek 

Weekend

Kansas Wildfires

Your Week of Compassion Dollars at Work!

When disasters strike, Week of Compassion is there to help families get back on their feet. Sometimes, disasters come close to home.

The Kansas towns of Dighton, Liberal and Hutchinson were recently hit by wildfires. Large areas were evacuated. Some families lost homes or had damage to their homes, in addition to the loss of crops and livestock.

Thanks to your gifts to Week of Compassion, our church families received disaster clean-up buckets and solidarity grants to help with expenses not covered by insurance.

Thirty Church World Service clean-up buckets were delivered to Park Place Christian Church, Hutchinson, and were distributed to assist in the clean-up effort. Some families have been able to get back into their homes and temporary housing has been identified for those whose homes were severely damaged or destroyed. Full assessment of damage is ongoing.

 

We want your feedback!

This new design for the 121-year-old Kansas Messenger is a work in progress. We aim for 4 pages, 2 sheets when printed, with an occasional special purpose appendix.

In this smaller format, articles will be shorter and may link to more information here on our website. We aim to continue to bring news from the breadth of Disciples—local and beyond our region, and of course, news in and about Kansas Disciples people and ministries.

Please continue to send News from the Pews. We’ll do our best to include the unusual and the occasional, perhaps with links to the full story elsewhere. If published, your article will be edited for space, and your photos may or may not be included.

 

A Year-Long Focus on Racism

The FBI reports that in 2015 more than 2100 hate crimes were committed against blacks, more than 730 against whites, and more than 370 against Hispanics. In the same year they report more than 690 hate crimes against Jews, more than 300 against Muslims and more than 160 against Christians. The stats for 2016, once compiled, will likely be similar.

So in 2017, our region is offering several opportunities to learn more, and to consider our response as faithful Christians.

At the just-completed Spiritual Retreat, Dr. Belva Jordan, from Claremont School of Theology in California, spoke on the theme “One Body—One Spirit.” 

Still to come are three sessions of Anti-Racism Training, [May 4, July 22, and October 19] required of all KS clergy for standing this year. Rev. Nancy Eggen, Kansas-Oklahoma UCC staff for Racial Justice, will help us learn how to talk about racism, and explore racism itself, as opposed to acts of racial bigotry.

Disciples Men Fall Retreat, Sept. 29-30, will also explore these concepts of racial and religious inequality and our call as Christians to speak out against racism.

We are Disciples of Christ, a movement for wholeness in a fragmented world.

 

Caution: Steeplejacking

Webmaster’s Note: this is a republication of an article with the same name originally published in the November 2014 issue of the Kansas Messenger. Since its original publication, we have received several requests for this information and thought it would beneficial to publish this article again. 

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Disciples are wonderfully ecumenical in outlook, cooperating with others in lots of ways—community missions, Vacation Bible School, shared worship, and more. It’s our DNA as Disciples. But occasionally, the sharing of resources can become something less helpful.

Recently one of our Kansas churches was visited by representatives of a different church, who offered to provide worship leaders and musicians, even preaching, while our congregation was between pastors. Those same visitors looked the building over carefully, taking notes about the various rooms. This action bothered the member who was giving them the tour.

Especially because of their persistence, the departing pastor recognized the signs of a possible steeplejack attempt—a move to infiltrate an existing congregation, pulling it away from its denominational moorings in order to establish a church of the infiltrator’s type, with a building and membership already in place. Often but not always, this is an attempt by a church that sees itself as proclaiming a ‘pure’ gospel or ‘the Biblical way,’ to ‘correct’ a church that they believe is preaching a corrupted gospel.

Once the agenda of the visitors became clear, the leadership of the visited congregation told them they were welcome but their offers were not.

The initial approach may be more subtle: an influx of new people who immediately get involved in the church, often seeking to serve in positions of influence. Churches love new members who want to serve!

If you suspect that your church may be a target in a steeplejack attempt, call your regional staff. Don’t wait; the congregation mentioned earlier repelled this by swift action, and you can too.

Several things can be done to protect your church from a takeover, and to protect your assets for your distinctive ministry—assets built through the efforts of generations of Disciples before you. The most effective is to educate your members. Keep people informed about the church’s vision, mission, actions, and affiliations, so that they won’t feel muddled when approached by newcomers. Bonus—when your current members know who you are, and what you stand for, they are more confident in evangelistic conversations with neighbors and friends!

In addition, structural changes will offer more protection. 

 

 

Suggested Changes to Protect Your Church

First—a reversionary clause on your deed prevents a change in ownership of your real property until the clause is released—which means that your Disciples membership will continue to own your building. 

This service is offered by the region in order to protect your building for your Disciples membership. The Christian Church in Kansas is NOT interested in owning your church building—ask us about First Christian in downtown Wichita! When it’s time to sell, releasing the reversionary clause is a simple matter.

Why change the deed, instead of the constitution or bylaws? These governance documents can be amended by the congregation alone, and often the process is simple enough that it could be hijacked by a group of determined new members. Changing the deed protects you, by requiring the participation of an outside entity.

 

Second—in your bylaws, require a minimum period of active membership before a person may vote or hold particular offices, and define ‘active.’ Steeplejacking is often done quickly, before members fully realize what is happening. A minimum of one year before voting in congregational meetings, and two years before serving in offices of trust (moderator, trustee, treasurer—this will vary by congregation) will give you time to know new people more fully, and time for them to know you. This tends to thwart the efforts of outsiders who prefer to move quickly.

 

Third—the congregation in the other article changed its bylaws so that they will accept new members during an interim period only by action of the board. This will not prevent people from being active participants; it simply postpones official membership until the new settled pastor is in place and has time to orient new members. The interim is a vulnerable time, and steeplejackers often don’t want to wait.

These actions say that your church is serious about maintaining its Disciples identity

The best time to implement changes is when things are well. Vaccinations are given to healthy people to prevent illness—this is like a vaccination. We write wills and do financial planning well in advance of death—this is like a will, to protect your assets. Your regional staff will help. Call us! We can visit your board or other group to talk about this and other matters.

 

Apply to be a Camp Intern Today

Within the Kansas Region, summer Church Camp is a high priority.   Those who have participated and matured through the camp program (now college-age students) are typically able and willing leaders who have excellent talents to offer.  These young adults are often the most dedicated individuals, as they have benefited greatly from their own experience in camp.   These individuals are also in a place of great financial need for resources to continue their college education.

The Summer Leadership Intern program enhances a young person’s college experience and may help a young person in determining a life vocation.  Preference is given to those individuals considering ministry as a career option.  While individuals from other Regions are considered, Kansas applicants are given first consideration.  Applicants must be currently enrolled in college and preference is given to those who have completed two successful years of college education.

Apply today! Download the full 2017 job description and Summer Leadership Intern Application.  Qualification criteria and three references (name and contact info) are required: your pastor and two others who know your work. Applications are due March 1. Selection process is completed by March 31. A committee of Camp & Conference members and regional staff review applicants and make the final selection. Application materials should be sent to Steve Martin.

 

For further information, send Steve Martin an email.

 

Communication Workshops

It’s not too late to register for the four remaining Church Communication workshops. Two identical sessions are offered, 9 a.m. in the chapel at Disciples Center at Tawakoni and 7 p.m. at Pine Valley Christian Church, Wichita. Beginners and digital experts will benefit.

Workshop topics are:

  • Tuesday, February 14:
    Social Media in the Church: Connecting to Millennials
    Social Media is another way to engage people with the gospel in our increasingly digital world. Learn about the different social media platforms, how to connect to the millennial generation, and use social media in a safe and secure way.
        
  • Tuesday, February 21:
    Church Publications: Communicating effectively in print, online
    Learn about both print and electronic forms of newsletters, brochures, postcards and other modes of communication for members and visitors.
  • Tuesday, February 28:
    Church Branding and what it says about you     
    Branding is the visual representation of your church’s identity. Explore the three elements of branding and developing your church’s unique identity.
  • Tuesday, March 7:
    PowerPoint, Screencasting & Video: Your church on the big screen   
    Adding projection systems to sanctuaries has changed the look and feel of worship today. In this session, learn about the resources available and how to use them effectively.

Cost is $15 per session. Register and pay online below or download registration form and mail with payment to the Topeka Regional office. Classes may be cancelled for insufficient preregistration. If winter weather forces cancellation of a session, it will be made up on March 14.

Credit card payments and gifts to the region, whether online, by phone or by other means, appear on your credit card statement as some version of “SST*CHRISTIANCHUR840559 MOUNT VERNON OH.”